« PreviousContinue »
could assimilate the tombs of Petrarch and Archi. lochus. The revolutions of centuries have spared these sequestered valleys, and the only violence which has been offered to the ashes of Petrarch was prompted, not by hate, but veneration. An attempt was inade to rob the sarcophagus of its treasure, and one of the arms was stolen by a Floreutine through a rent which is still visible. The injury is not forgotten, but has served to identify the poet with the country where he was born, but where he would not live. A peasant boy of Arquà being asked who Petrarch was, re. plied, “that the people of the parsonage knew all about him, but that he only knew that he was a Florentine. »
Mi. Forsyth 1) was not quite correct in saying that Petrarch never returned to Tuscany after he had once quitted it when a boy. It appears he did pass through Florence on his way from Parma to Rome, and on his return in the year 1350, and remained there long enough to form some acquaintance with its most distinguished inhabitants. A Florentine gentleman, ashamed of the aversion of the poet for his native country, was eager to point out this trivial error in our accomplished traveller, whom he knew and respected for an extraordinary capacity, extensive erudition, and refined taste, joined to that engaging simplicity of manners which has been so frequently recognized as the surest, though it is certainly not an indispensable, trait of superior genius.
Every footstep of Laura's lover has been an. xiously traced and recorded. The house in which he lodged is shown in Venice. The inhabitants of Arezzo, in order to decide the ancient contro. versy between their city and the neighbouring Ancisa, where Petrarch was carried when seven months old, and remained until his seventh year, have designated by a long inscription the spot where their great feliow - citizen was born. A tablet has been raised to him at Parma, in the chapel
taly, p. 95, note, 2d edit.
of St. Agatha, at the cathedral ?), because he was archdeacon of that society, and was only snatched from his intended sepulture in their church by a foreign death. Another tablet with a bust has been erected to him at Pavia, on account of his having passed the autumn of 1368 in that city, with his son-in-law Brossano. The political condition which has for ages precinded the Italians from the criticism of the living, has concentrated their attention to the illustration of the dead.
Stanza xxxiv. line 1. The struggle is to the full as likely to be with demons as with our better ihoughts. Satan chose the wilderness for the temptation of our Saviour. And our unsullied John Locke preferred the presence of a child to conplete solitude.
S. P. O. R. laurea donato.
Si Parmae occumberet
Stanza xxxviii. lines 6 and 7. Perhaps the couplet in which Boileau depreciates Tasso may serve as well as any other specimen to justify the opinion given of the harmony of French verse.
A Malerbe, à Racan, préfére Theophile,
Sat. ix. vers 176. The biographer Serassi ), out of tenderness to the reputation either of the Italian or the French poet, is eager to observe that the satirist recanted or explained away this censure, and subsequently allowed the author of the Jerusalem to be a “genins, sublime, vast, and happily born for the higher flights of poetry.” To this we will add, that the recantation is far from satisfactory, when we examine the whole anecdote as reported by Olivet?). The sentence pronounced against him by Bohours 3) is recorded only to the confusion of the critic, whose palinodia the Italian makes no effort to discover, and would not perhaps accept.
the opposition which the Jerusalemi encountered from the Cruscan aca
1) La vita del Tasso, lib. iii. p. 284. tom. ii. edit. Bergamo,
1790. 2) Histoire de l'Académie Françoise depuis 1652 jusqu'a 1700,
par l'abbé d'Olivet, p. 181, edit. Amsterdam, 1730. “Mais, ensuite, venant à l'usage qu'il a fait de ses talens, j'aurois montré que le bon sens n'est pas toujours ce qui domine chez lui,» p. 182. Boilean said he had not changed his opiuion.
« J'en ai si peu changé, dit il,, etc, p. 181. 3) La manière de bien penser dans les ouvrages de l'esprit, sec.,
dial. p. 89, edit. 1692. Philanthes is for Tasso, and says in the outset, «de tous les beaux esprits que l'Italie a por. tés, le Tasse est peut-être celui qui pense le plus noblement. » But Bohours seems to speak in Eudoxus, who closes with the absurd comparison: “Faites valoir le Tasse tant qu'il vous plaira, je m'en tiens pour moi à Virgile,n etc. Ibid. P.
demy, who degraded Tasso from all competition with Ariosto, below Bojardo and Pulci, the disgrace of such opposition must also in some mea sure be laid to the charge of Alfonso, and the court of Ferrara. For Leonard Salviati, the principal and nearly the sole origin of this attack, was, there can be no doubt ?), influenced by a hope to acquire the favour of the House of Este: an ob. ject which he thought attainable by exalting the reputation of a native poet at the expense of a rival, then a prisoner of state. The hopes and efforts of Salviati must serve to show the coteinporary opinion as to the nature of the poet's imprisonment; and will fill up the measure of our indignation at the tyrant jailer 2). In fact, the antagonist of Tasso was not disappointed in the reception given to his critism; he was called to the court of Ferrara, where, having endeavoured to heighten his claims to favour, by panegyrics on the family of his sovereign 3), he was in turn abandoned, and expired in neglected poverty. The opposition of the Cruscans was bronght to a close in six years after the comniencement of the controversy; and if the academy owed its first renown to having almost opened with such a paradox 4). it is probable that, on the other hand, the care of his reputation alleviated rather than aggravated the inprisonment of the injured poet. The defence of his father and of himself, for both were involved in the censure of Salviati, found employment for many of his solitary hours, and the captive could 1) La Vita, etc. lib. iii. p. 90, tom. ii. The English reader may
see an account of the opposition of the Crusca to Tasso, in
Dr. Black, Life, etc. cap. xvii. vol. ii. 21 for further, and, it is hoped, decisive proof, that Tasso was
neither more nor less than a prisoner of state, the reader is referred to “ Historical Mustrations of the IV th Canig of
Childe Harold,, pag. 5, and following. 3) Orazioni funebri....delle lodi di Don Luigi Cardinal d'Este
.... delle lodi di Douno Alfonso d'Este. See La Vita, lib.
iii. p. 117. 4) It was founded in 1582, and the Cruscan answer to Pelle
grino's Carafa or epica poesia was published in 1584.
have been but little embarrassed to reply to accusations, where, amongst other delinquencies, he was charged with invidiously omitting, in his comparison between France and Italy, to make any mention of the cupola of St. Maria del Fiore at Florence 1). The late biographer of Ariosto seems as if willing to renew the controversy by doubting the interpretation of Tasso's self-estimation 2) re. lated in Serassi's life of the poet. But Tiraboschi had before laid that rivalry at rest 3), by showing, that between Ariosto and Tasso it is not a question of comparison, but of preference.
Stanza xli. lines 1 and 2. Before the remains of Ariosto were removed from the Benedictine church to the library of Ferrara, his bust, which surmounted the tomb, was struck by lightning, and a crown of iron laurels melted away. The event has been recorded by a writer of the last century 4). The transfer of these sacred ashes on the 6th of June, 1801, was one of the most brilliant spectacles of the short-lived Italian Republic; and to consecrate the memory of the ceremony, the once famous fallen Intrepidi were revived and re- formed into the Ariostean
1) «Cotanto potè sempre in lui il veleno della sua pessima volon
tà contro alla nazion Fiorentina, » La ita, lib, iii. p. 96,
9S tom. ii. 2) La Vita di M. L. Ariosto, scritta dall' Abate Girolamo Ba.
ruffaldi Ginniore, etc., Ferrara, 1807, lib. iii. p. 262. See
Historical Illustrations, etc. p. 26. 3) Storia della Lett. etc. lib. iii. tom. vii. par iii. p. 1220.
sect. 4. 4) "Mi raccontarono que' monaci, ch' essendo caduto un fulmi
ne nella loro chiesa schianto esso dalle tempie la corona di lauro a quell'immortale poeta. » Op di Bianconi, vol. iii. p. .176. ed. Milano, 1802; lettera al Signor Guido Savini Arcifisiocritico, sull'indole di un fulmine caduto in Dresda l'anno 1759.